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Community Energy

Community energy is when a community group initiates, develops, operates and benefits from a shared or individual energy resource. Every project is different and tailored to each community's needs and context.

It is important to remember that community projects require significant time and effort from dedicated resources. The projects are time consuming and complex so support of the community is crucial.

Below you will find out more about the grid connection and what to consider along your community energy journey.

  • Things to consider

    Start with a clear vision and aim

    It is important that the motivation/driver for the project is clear and the desired outcome is defined and agreed for example:

    • Do you want to reduce your costs?
    • Do you want to reduce your emissions?
    • Do you want to reduce your reliance on the grid?

     

    Decide on your technology, finances and governance structure

     

    • Do you want solar?
    • Are you considering batteries?
    • Does one source of generation, like wind, suit your communities needs better?
    • How will you finance this project?
    • Are there any government or other funds available to support you?
    • Will you fundraise?
    • Who will manage this on behalf of the community?
    • Do you need to establish a committee to oversee the project?

    Do some research

    Get as much information on the whole process as you can. We suggest looking at the Guide to Community Owned Renewable Energy Projects for Victorians.

    Data will help you make your decisions on what technology, model etc works best for you. Information on consumption can be found at My Home Energy.

  • Deciding on an energy model

    Once you know the desired outcome for your project, it is important to consider what community energy model will facilitate this. There are a number of set ups you can choose from to suit your communities needs and aims. See below for some examples of these:

    Community generation

    This involves a large generation source that will be accessed by all of the community for example a wind farm like Hepburn Wind.

    Council partnership

    Councils can support community energy groups in a number of valuable ways. One example is by giving access to a premise or land. Read about how council support helped Lismore Community Solar.

    Multi-household

    House-holds aggregated to do a solar bulk-buy such as the Bendigo sustainability group or Mooroolbark mini-grid.

    Not-for-profit

    Community raises fund through donations, fundraising and typically the hose site and beneficiary will be a not-for-profit organisation such as the Moreland Energy Foundation.

    If you’re considering any of these models, get in touch with us at communityenergy@ausnetservices.com.au. We would be keen to know as soon as possible so we can provide you with information about the strength of the network in your area.

     
  • Grid connection

    A big part of grid-connected generation for communities is working with us to ensure that the grid connection is as smooth as possible and that the grid is able to support your project in your chosen area. It is important to consider that in the early stages of your planning as it may impact the size or location of your connection.

    As much as possible come prepared with:

    • What you are connecting
    • What size connection you would like
    • Where you would like to connect
  • Timeline and processes

    The timelines and process for connection varies depending on the model you select:

    • Read our residential page to understand the process for households connecting to solar
    • See the new connections pages for an idea about how installers will connect larger systems to the grid
    • Have a look at information on embedded generation for projects over 1.5MW.
 

If you have any questions about community energy, please get in touch with our community energy team at communityenergy@ausnetservices.com